”40 Rules of Love” Elif Şafak book review

40 Rules of Love”Elif Şafak: a revelation about friendship, love and life’s hardships

It took me few months to read and re-read this book. To make notes of all the words of wisdom I found applicable to me, to my life, to my experiences and values. I keep the notebook with me and scroll it regularly. I would like to share with you the quotes that inspired me the most.

  1. In many ways, the 21st century is not that different from the 13th century. Both will be recorded in history as times of unprecedented religious clashes, cultural misunderstandings and a general sense of insecurity and fear of the other. At times like these, the need for love is greater than ever.
  2. Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.
  3. God never burdens us with more than we can bear.
  4. There was a rule that suited my mood: ”Whatever happens in your life, no matter, how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful. It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has een given but also for all that he has been denied.
  5. Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
  6. The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, love can only be perfected in pain.
  7. If you ever lose faith in yourself, the mirror will show your inner beauty. In case your reputation is stained the handkerchief will remind you of how pure your heart is. As for the balm, it will heal your wounds, both inside and outside. 
  8. There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the Light of God pass through them. 
  9. Because you are so desperate to win the approval of others, you’ll never get rid of their criticism, no matter how hard you try.
  10. Being used to an itinerant life, I found it slightly unnerving to have to settle in a city but I recalled another fundamental rule: Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
  11. If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve this stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.
  12. Fret not where the road will take you. Instead, concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.
  13. Beautiful is your life full and complete. Or, so you think until someone comes along and makes you realize what you have been missing all this time. Like a mirror that reflects what is absent rather than present, he shows you the void in your soul – the void you have resisted seeing. That person can be a lover, a friend, a spiritual master. Sometimes it can be a child to look after. What matters is to find the soul that will complete yours.

Thanks for reading!

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